New York, NY – After more than 400 days, IBEW Local 3’s ongoing strike against telecommunications giant Charter/Spectrum remained foremost on the minds of many at this past week’s massive #Count Me In rally at Union Square.
In addition to Local 3 members turning out in support of the campaign’s fight against so-called “open shop” development throughout the city, Business Manager Chris Erikson reiterated the union’s commitment to press its fight against one of the largest cable providers in the nation.
“Just think for a moment what’s happening — not only here in New York City, but across the country,” Erikson told thousands of trade unionists on Tuesday. “Working men and women are in the fight — whether they are teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona — they’re facing bullies. And they’ve said, enough; they’ve stood up to the bullies. Here in New York City, Local 3 has been in a fight against a bully — Charter/Spectrum. Over a year, our 1,800 members of Local 3 have been out on strike against a multi-billion-dollar corporation that wanted to break this union. And we are not giving up; they picked on the wrong union.”
The punishing strike has taken its toll on striking members who have steadfastly refused to cross the picket line and return to their jobs. A number of families have broken apart as desperate husbands and wives in defiance of the corporate agenda have scrambled to provide for their families and maintain uninterrupted health insurance coverage.
Some are critical of Local 3 leadership and the way the strike has been conducted.
“As a Local 3 member, still fighting along with my Union brothers and sisters, I would hope [Erikson] would continue the fight,” Eddie Rogan told LaborPress. “I will remain strong. As a husband, father of three, and homeowner working 2-3 jobs, I would hope he wakes up and changes his game plan.”
Upset members have long expressed a need for greater public visability throughout the strike, as well as complained about a perceived over reliance on elected officials to help end the standoff.
Rogan said that he is also critical of the leadership for allegedly allowing “the ET Division to become an after thought in this Union,” as well as allowing some “card carrying union members to do Spectrum work” throughout the strike — although, the members in question were reportedly working for subcontractors not associated with “struck work.”
Reluctant to address criticism in the press, Erikson maintained focus on Charter/Spectrum.
“The union is in a fight and we’re continuing this battle against a multi-billion-dollar corporation that has been intent, since day one, on breaking the union,” he later told LaborPress. “We’re not giving up this fight. We’re maintaining picket lines, and we’re doing everything that we can in order to pressure that company to come to its senses.”
Striking IBEW Local 3 member Chris Fasulo was glad to hear Erikson’s pledge this past Tuesday that the union is not giving up the fight against Charter/Spectrum — a company that finds itself assailed on several legal fronts for failing to fulfill its Franchise Agreement with the City of New York.
“All I have to say is I hope not , because the rank and file haven’t given up,” Fasulo told LaborPress. “We are out here fighting every day to hold on to a piece of the American dream. Some are at the picket lines, #Count Me In rallies doing interviews, some go to community meetings. If he gives up, he has destroyed families and is no different then Charter/Spectrum.”